Saturday, August 18 , 2018, 9:24 pm | Fair with Haze 67º


Santa Barbara Youth Symphony Offers a Youthful Guide to the Orchestra on Sunday

The Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, under the baton of music director Andy Radford, will play its Winter Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West, 1070 Fairway Road in Santa Barbara.

The Youth Symphony program, which features a solo by the gifted young cellist, Vincent Chen, includes Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave), Opus 26; Luigi Boccherini’s Cello Concerto No. 9 in Bb-Major, G. 482 (with Chen); Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 in D-Major/d-minor, Opus 107, “The Reformation”; and the Overture to Jacques Offenbach’s opera, Orpheus in the Underworld (1858).

Nothing is more appropriate than that a young orchestra should play Mendelssohn. He died young (38), of course but there is more to it than that — I am sure, in fact, that to most of this orchestra, 38 seems impossibly ancient. Mozart only saw 35, and yet, when he was 5, he was composing works that in no way could be considered “immature,” or even “youthful.” He always seemed to be channeling some strain of the universal tunes that is beyond time or age. Mendelssohn, on the other hand, while even his earliest works have uncanny polish, retained a spirit of ebullient youth throughout his life.

Like Benjamin D’Israeli’s father, Mendelssohn’s father quarreled with his rabbi and had his children baptized as Lutherans. While it made no difference in how he thought about himself — when he arranged for the first performance since Bach’s death of the Saint Matthew Passion, Felix said, “It is an actor and a young Jew who are restoring to Europe it’s greatest Christian music” — the baptism opened up career paths and social opportunities that would have been totally closed to non-Christians.

When the city fathers of Augsburg wanted a symphony to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, a signal event of the Protestant Reformation, they commissioned Mendelssohn to write it — which they certainly would not have done had he not been a Lutheran himself.

Although illness intervened, and the composer didn’t have the work done in time for the celebration, it is a perfect realization of the idea of a “Protestant” symphony. He uses several hymns for his thematic material, including “A Mighty Fortress,” composed by Martin Luther. The “No. 5” designation and the high opus number were both assigned after Mendelssohn’s death. In fact, it was his second symphony, written when he was 20. The composer didn’t regard the work very highly; he dismissed it as “juvenilia” — which it is not, but that would not disqualify it from being played by this orchestra, which will no doubt give an enthusiastic account of this rousing score.

Tickets to this concert are $14 general and $10 for seniors and students. They can be purchased at the door.

Click here for more information on the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. Connect with the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony on Facebook.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >